33 thoughts on “Sarah Silverman puts it succinctly

  1. My family went through a suicide scare when my son was a high school senior last year. He is not gay, but has asperger syndrome. He is ok, but there is nothing in the world as heartbreaking as standing helplessly by knowing that your beloved child is being tortured. He didn’t pick this syndrome and neither did we, his family. He just is. Being gay is not even a syndrome-it just is. As a culture, why do we condone such exclusion and segregation that crosses what we have determined to be an acceptable norm? Especially when that line keeps moving. How close do you have to be to that line to still merit worth and dignity? How dare Boyd Packer condemn (I don’t care how polite it is, it’s still condemnation) a lifestyle he knows nothing about. Does god love my son? How close to “normal” does he have to be for the bullying to stop? Does god love the bully? Boyd Packer may not think he’s a bully, but he’s standing at that pulpit and he’s carrying a big stick.

  2. I went back and read some more of that Mormon Mentality thread that we were talking about earlier. Unfortunately, the interesting part (about the CofC) fizzled out and was replaced by the popular LDS debate over whether it’s reasonable to compare homosexuals to alcoholics. One person even compared gay people to thieves and murderers (as an excuse for why s/he didn’t want his/her own straight son or daughter to marry an ex-gay). And people still come around here asking why we consider this rhetoric hateful…

    Anyway, though, cam, I can see the parallel with asperger’s syndrome, especially with respect to the question of bullying. We have a lots of asperger’s in our family, too, and I’m hesitant to see it as a handicap or disorder. (I talked about this a bit on Science-Based Parenting here — read my follow-up comments especially.) It’s one of those things where it hardly makes sense to talk about “curing” it because then my kid would then be a fundamentally different person, and I love the person he is. He’s not bad or wrong the way he is, just different. I guess we’ll have to be ready to deal with bullying at some point; I hope it won’t be too severe.

  3. And to those parents of straight children who haven’t really gotten involved or thought this through because ‘it doesn’t effect me,’ consider this – I personally know two young men, two straight men, who were viciously bullied in school because some other kid THOUGHT they were gay. One of them killed himself.

    Bias and hatred effects everyone – EVERYONE. There is no sideline in this game.

  4. Come on. You act as if you could actually find an LDS person who would say that harassing someone until they considered killing themselves is awesome.

    Just because the church’s doctrine says that homosexuality is immoral doesn’t mean people have to be mean, rude, condescending, hurtful, or hateful toward people who live that lifestyle. The church never has, and never will say that or anything like it. Christ taught the exact opposite.

    If you don’t like that the church says that homosexuality is immoral, don’t listen. And if people are being hateful/hurtful, they aren’t doing it because the church told them to, that’s for sure. BKP’s talk didn’t say anything terrible or horrible about people who are gay. Only about the church’s doctrinal stance on the issue.

  5. You act as if you could actually find an LDS person who would say that harassing someone until they considered killing themselves is awesome.

    Here are two:

    “There is no true Latter-day Saint who would not rather bury a son or daughter than to have him or her lose his or her chastity realizing that chastity is of more value than anything else in all the world.Heber J. Grant, quoted in The Miracle of Forgiveness, by Spencer W. Kimball

    I’m sure that statement has been quoted by thousand others.

  6. Rob — it is not a question of Mormons wanting gay people to commit suicide or thinking that bullying is awesome. However, sometimes your actions (or in this case BKP’s) can have unintended consequences. Please read the article Holly linked in the comment just above yours.

    Also, you’re welcome to join in the conversation here, but — if you choose to comment again — I ask that you use a real email address.

  7. Rob, the people who need to stop listening are the gay kids who as a result of the church’s false teachings internalize the belief that a core part of themselves is immoral. BKP’s talk denied that homosexuality can be a core part of a person. You even deny that, don’t you? This flies in the face of scientific evidence. If someone were to preach to you that your attraction to the opposite sex was in fact an immoral and a satanic influence, and you completely believed it, this would be unnecessarily damaging to you. It would be just to speak out strongly against anyone who would do such a thing to you, taking advantage of your belief like that, regardless of how sincere or honest the preacher is in saying such things.

  8. Holly – I’ve heard that “rather have your kid dead” quote before. No where in that quote does it say that people should actually cause anyone (or even want anyone) to die. Nonetheless, the church has shied away from langauge like that in recent years. I actually haven’t ever heard any one in an official church setting use that quote in my lifetime.

    Carson – I don’t like the logic of your argument. You are saying that there are no parts of a person that are not good? If you feel it and desire it, it must be okay? I also find your claim that scientific evidence has removed any doubt about the genetic question a bit overstated. Not that that’s what’s really important – the church wouldn’t change its stance even it were proved that homosexuality is genetic.

    Chanson – why does it matter if I put a real email address? Also, I read the article, and it says this: “The pain they faced had an external source: the cruel, unremitting, merciless pounding of daily humiliation, taunting, harassment, and violence.” Which is exactly the point I was making. If Christians, are bullying, harassing, hating, assaulting, or otherwise bothering a gay person, I submit to you that they are not following the words of Christ. Merely having a doctrine in a church that says homosexuality is a sin should not cause anyone anger. Bullying absolutely should. One can exist without the other. Tolerance works both ways.

  9. Rob — It doesn’t matter all that much. We don’t check the email addresses to confirm that they’re real or anything. It’s just that — if you read our commenting policy — you’ll see that we ask people to make a good faith effort to have a civil discussion. If you type something into the address field that is obviously garbage, then that says you’re not even trying. Thanks for updating to something plausible.

  10. You are saying that there are no parts of a person that are not good?

    Um…what?

    If you feel it and desire it, it must be okay?

    Yeah no, I didn’t use that logic, sorry. What I did do is compared it to your attraction to the opposite sex. It is just as immoral as that. If your attraction to the opposite sex tempts you to commit adultery or to rape someone, then you must refrain. Same goes for same-sex attraction. On the other hand, if your opposite-sex attraction pushes you toward having a fulfilling, committed relationship with a member of the opposite sex, then that is fine. It is also fine for same-sex attraction. Except you believe that God declared that it is evil for same-sex attraction, and you have no evidence or reason to back this up other than “my god said so”, or rather, “BKP et al said my god said so.”

    I invited to you reflect on how you would feel if you grew up in a different church where they taught you that your attraction to the opposite sex was an evil temptation and that you should stifle that part of yourself for the rest of your life, because any action resulting from it is immoral. Furthermore, how would you feel if they taught you that you could change your attraction through priesthood help, yet anything and everything you’ve ever tried failed?

    I also find your claim that scientific evidence has removed any doubt about the genetic question a bit overstated.

    Did I say “genetic” anywhere? I believe I said it’s an integral part of a person. Do you really think it’s not?

    Did you know that nobody is really quite sure where handedness (right or left) directly comes from? Do you think that some ambiguity about whether handedness is biological or environmental changes whether or not it can be a permanent trait? If you wanted to change your handedness, could you? It doesn’t sound like you have very much experience at all with homosexuality. You could at least read about it.

    Not that thats whats really important the church wouldnt change its stance even it were proved that homosexuality is genetic.

    Oh we are all well aware of how lagging the church is behind the morals of the times. Believe me when I say we will not be in the least bit surprised to watch the church stick to its homophobia. But change it will, very slowly. The church will eventually follow the direction of the progressive morals of society in the decades to come as surely as night follows day. If you pay attention, you can see the church changing on lots of issues. They phase things out and in, and most church members are like the metaphorical frog in boiling water, unaware.

  11. Rob, I’m relying on the fact that Mormons don’t really want to hurt children. I’m not accusing them of maliciousness (at least not generally). I want to make them aware of the unintended consequences, that chanson mentioned, of what they teach. I have full faith that most Mormons, as they become aware of how LDS teachings on homosexuality torture children, they will realize how inconsistent those teachings are with the unconditional love that Jesus symbolizes.

  12. Rob @12:

    I submit to you that they are not following the words of Christ. Merely having a doctrine in a church that says homosexuality is a sin should not cause anyone anger. Bullying absolutely should.

    I think it’s true that there is an extent to which people don’t discuss what “love the sinner, hate the sin” does to people psychologically (especially youth) and that people often conflate “hateful hate” and “loving hate.” I submit to you that both cause people a lot of grief, because both lead same-sex attracted people to think they are especially prone to sinning. The former (bullying) simply makes people feel unwelcome–so much so that they sometimes commit suicide–but the latter can also push someone to feel this way over years of discouragement. The Church considers gays in its midst to be “struggling”…for how long? Their whole lives. When youth contemplate a lifelong struggle on something as essential as human intimacy, then they can sometimes wonder what the point of living is. Obviously, bullying can send people over the edge when they already have this on their plate, but I also think what is already on the plate is unnecessarily torturous. You can hold gay youths’ hands and say “it’s okay, it’s okay” but Mormonism is just not structured for them to exist in anything but a constant state of “struggle” (…or outsidership, once they leave the Church.) It’s kind of ridiculous, really, that the Church would choose to remain in a constant state of grief and exclusion with occasional bouts of vindictiveness, rather than take a thorough look at how it came to be this way.

  13. Rob writes:

    No where in that quote does it say that people should actually cause anyone (or even want anyone) to die.

    Are you really so lacking in imagination that you can’t imagine what it feels like for someone who is gay to read that statement as a teenager? Do you think that they don’t realize that TWO prophets have said that it would be better for them to die than to ever experience love the way they desire it? And how do you think people end up dead instead of losing their chastity–by being struck by a bolt of lightning? No; they end up dead by choosing death over sex. And they do it because they are made to feel so ashamed about how they are.

    Bullying on the playground is the form of oppression and abuse enacted by children. It is the juvenile version of the bullying statements made by Packer over his bully pulpit. That is why the article also points out that

    When LGBT people resort to suicide, they are responding to far more than the pain of a few individual insults or humiliating occurrences. When LGBT people commit suicide it is an extreme act of resistance to an oppressive and unjust reality in which every LGBT person is always and everywhere at risk of becoming the target of violence solely because of sexual orientation or gender identity. They are acts of resistance to a perceived reality in which a lifetime of violence and abuse seems utterly unavoidable.

    and

    We must widen our perspective from individual acts of bullying and violence to the instrumental purpose these serve in subjugating LGBT people to particular religious and cultural ideologies in which reality is defined from a strictly heterosexual perspectiveand gay and lesbian people become non-persons.

    I actually havent ever heard any one in an official church setting use that quote in my lifetime.

    Lucky you.

    Given that it’s printed in a book that’s still in print (you can even get a kindle edition) and that is commonly recommended for people who “struggle” with what the church considers “issues with the law of chastity,” it doesn’t much matter if it’s not shouted over the pulpit.

    Not that thats whats really important the church wouldnt change its stance even it were proved that homosexuality is genetic.

    no duh. It has been proven that in many cases, homosexuality is biological. We all have seen the video of Packer flat-out denying this evidence, and informing the world that it’s still an evil choice to be gay. He couldn’t have given that church unless someone OKe’d it.

    That’s part of what’s so frustrating: the church–and you–just deny reality, and maintain a stance that destroys lives and causes needless misery, because it and you are too cowardly and egotistical to admit the truth, or to face the consequences of being wrong.

  14. Each of the responses to my above post hinge on the point that being homosexual is something that you are, what you are born with.

    I’m sure you will all be horrified at my “enenlightened, uneducated” question – but how exactly is this different from our other human urges that we struggle with constantly? And I’m not talking about the urge to overeat or the urge to cheat on my taxes. I’m talking about things that would keep you up at night, cause you to loathe yourself and seek help. Carson – you brought up the urge to rape. What if that’s all you ever feel, all you ever think about, the only way that you can contemplate being sexual with another person? Would you shrug and say to them, “hrmm… well… I suppose it’s just the way you are – no use trying to battle it, amirite? Especially since it’s such an important human interaction – human sexuality.” And wouldn’t your comment above, “then you must refrain” be insensitive to that person, who struggles with this all of their days, every day, and is told they are a sinner and a terrible person?

    You also mentioned the church doesn’t have any proof for its’ beliefs. It doesn’t need any. And you shouldn’t require any. That’s what beliefs are.

    Also – here’s the other thing I don’t get. If the apolstles really, truly, actually believe with all of their hearts that homosexuality is a sin, and puts people in danger of not being able to live with their Heavenly Father again (which they do) – they should be preaching that from the rooftops, right? God’s laws don’t change because people got their feelings hurt. If it’s a sin, it’s a sin. If it isn’t, it isn’t. I don’t see a way around this one, especially where the concept of male/female/familes/marriage is so, so, central to the very core of LDS theology.

    I think there is a lot of validity to a lot of what is being said – I don’t think anyone shuold feel like they are a worthless person, like they deserve to die, no one should be bullied, disowned, etc. I don’t condone any of those things, and they cause way, way too much harm to people and families. But being mad at the church because of the doctrine is unreasonable. And saying that merely having the doctrine encourages bullying and bigotry is also unreasonable. Be mad at the bigoted people’s actions, not the church’s doctrine. The doctine isn’t hateful, it just is. If you don’t agree with it, feel free to move along.

  15. Rape isn’t at it’s root about sex, but let’s set that aside for a moment. What you described is obsession, not really an analogy to homosexuality. Anyone who becomes so obsessed with something that it interferes with a healthy life should seek help, whether that obsession is homosexual sex, heterosexual sex, rape fantasies, cleaning the house, or Pokemon.

    Also, obsessions with rape, adultery, alcohol, etc. also are not comparable with homosexuality. They all involve harming someone. Professional societies have repeatedly come to the consensus that homosexuality is compatible with a healthy, fulfilling life. Someone can express their homosexuality without harming themself or someone else.

    You also mentioned the church doesnt have any proof for its beliefs. It doesnt need any. And you shouldnt require any. Thats what beliefs are.

    It absolutely does when it endangers the health of children. Beliefs have consequences. If the consequences are negative, then there is nothing inconsistent in requiring a believer to justify their beliefs. For example, religious believers who shun medicine in favor of faith healing cannot withhold medicine from their children simply because it is inconsistent with their belief.

    be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15)

    If people are dying because of LDS apostles’ words, then they owe it to the world to have proof that what they’re saying is true. It is not enough to feel like it is true. They need evidence, not feelings of certainty. If they have real evidence, they haven’t shared it.

    Forgive me for making this analogy, but the extreme proves my point. Saying that feeling certain in your beliefs is enough to justify endangering lives could just as easily justify the 9/11 hijackers. They believed enough to kill themselves and thousands of innocents.

    I just want to reemphasize that religious beliefs are not exempt from criticism simply for the fact of being religious. They have real world consequences. It would be immoral to stand by and watch them hurt children in a misguided desire to respect someone’s beliefs.

  16. Gods laws dont change because people got their feelings hurt. […] But being mad at the church because of the doctrine is unreasonable. And saying that merely having the doctrine encourages bullying and bigotry is also unreasonable.

    Where does bullying and bigotry about homosexuality come from, if not from ideas that being gay is wrong or sinful? What you don’t seem to get is that it’s not just about “don’t act on your attractions,” but it’s also a campaign that says “your attractions are wrong.” This is bullying. There was a time in which Mormon leaders did not “preach from the rooftops” that homosexuality was wrong, because people didn’t think about themselves in this way. People were intimate with the same gender, by which I mean, they allowed themselves to express “homosexual feelings” within the contexts of same-sex friendships and nobody thought it strange (and not everyone was “prone” to it); everyone still agreed that sex was for reproduction only because Mormons had very different ideas about sex (for example, that semen is tied to life force and masturbation will make you ill…and if you listen closely enough, you’ll still hear this logic from guys born in the 1920s and 1930s). Nowadays, sex is about intimacy, AND it’s now considered sinful to cultivate “homosexual feelings.” There is a real change here in the way Mormon leaders and Mormons think about sexuality, so it’s not just about “God’s laws not changing.”

  17. Rob: Im sure you will all be horrified at my enenlightened, uneducated question but how exactly is this different from our other human urges that we struggle with constantly?

    Fortunately, your “horrifying, unenlightened and uneducated” question has already been answered here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-shore/how-is-being-gay-like-glu_b_747071.html

    Branch out on facebook, bro. Get some cool non-homophobe friends. Everyone was posting this link last week–even before Conference. Then you might be able to read stuff like this on your own.

    As for your suggestion that “If you dont agree with [the church’s hateful doctrine on homosexuality], feel free to move along,” please remember that virtually everyone here has in terms of our own belief and/or tithing paying and so forth. This is a post- or ex-Mo blog, after all. However, we claim the right to remain interested in a church that shaped our lives more strongly that many if not all of the other institutions we have encountered in our lives–particularly when that church continues to threaten and harm people we care about.

    If you don’t agree with our self-claimed (and, I might add, inalienable, in that you have absolutely no way to take it from us) right to discuss how fucked up the Mormon church’s approach to homosexuality it, feel free to move along. This discussion, after all, impinges on your life far less than the church’s doctrine on homosexuality impinges on ours.

  18. @Holly – interesting article, but it doesn’t articulate a point that is meaningful to a religious person. Sins are not sins because of certain attributes the act they come with has. Sins are sins because God has said that they are sins. Saying that homosexuality isn’t a sin because it involves feelings of love/intimacy, etc. into the argument doesn’t change that in any way, shape or form. There isn’t a way around that one.

    @Jonathan – in this argument, saying that having desires to rape and having desires to be homosexual are not the same (because harm is involved, or because rape is an obsession?) is a copout. Most of you here are arguing that what you feel is who you are, that it is not changable, and trying to make someone change or feel bad is immoral and wrong. My question was this – would you tell a rapist or a pedophile that he is unrehabilitatable? Unchangable? That it’s no use to try to be any different, because he will never change, and if he tries, he will live his life in constant agony? Do you feel that they should be locked up forever? That sounds to me like what you are saying.

    Also, for a group of people who spend so much time railing against people who try to change things that are unchangeable, I find it ironic that you spend so much energy being angry at the church’s doctrine, which I still don’t see changing any time soon.

  19. it doesnt articulate a point that is meaningful to a religious person.

    Recognizing that respecting someone’s right to hold an opinion and respecting that opinion are two different things, I say: You’ve just summed up why the opinions held by a religious person of the ilk you invoke do not deserve respect: their willingness if not eagerness to deprive other people of love is not “meaningful” to them.

    Then they go and compound the whole problem by saying that homosexuality is comparable to rape and pedophilia.

    Let’s be clear on one thing: the fact that you say that your god considers something a sin doesn’t mean that A) there is a god or B) or that s/he considers anything at all sinful. You’re starting with an assumption that not everyone shares.

    We do not care that you consider certain acts sinful, and we do not accept or respect your reasons for claiming that they are. None of that constitutes a “meaningful” statement to us. So why make it?

    And just so you know: there are enough members of the quorum of the 12 (a minority, but more than one or two) who have met with members of Equality Utah and told them that they know the church’s current direction is wrong and will correct it when they can, that, all things considered, the church’s stance on homosexuality is more likely to change than ours, so why are you spending your time here? You claim to find our investment in the topic “ironic”–what’s wrong with your sense of “irony” that you can’t see how “ironic” it is that you show up here and demonstrate to all of us what “unenlightened” bigoted views you hold?

  20. And oh yeah–you’re absolutely wrong when you say that “Sins are not sins because of certain attributes the act they come with has.” As Paul makes clear in I Corinthians 12, the “attribute” or “attitude” a person feels while engaging in a particular act is crucial to what makes it righteous or immoral within the context of christianity. “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

    Similarly, looking at a woman isn’t sinful according to Jesus–unless one looks at her to lust after her.

    So the statement you dismiss as “not meaningful” should be meaningful to you, if you actually followed the tenets of your faith.

  21. Rob,

    I’ve often found that calling something a cop-out is the true cop-out. We’re not saying that “what you feel is who you are”, at least I’m not. I’m saying that some of us were born with the need to feel love and intimacy from someone of the same sex. What’s the harm in that?

    Pedophilia is not synonymous with sexual predation. I just want to make that clear. People of all sexual orientations can be predators, including straight, gay, whatever.

    Pedophiles have a high recidivism rate. It appears that they will not be able change. The difference—the same difference I already pointed out—is that pedophiles hurt someone else when they act on their desires. In pedophiles’ minds, they are having an intimate, loving relationships with children. Of course this is not truly possible because children are not capable of those kinds of relationships, nor are they capable to consent. I hurt for pedophiles. For them, there are real reasons that they will never know the intimacy that they crave.

    All of that is in contrast to homosexuality. They do not necessarily hurt the people they desire to love and their partners are capable of both reciprocating and consenting.

    Rape has nothing to do with love. It’s a meaningless comparison.

    BTW, there is a certain meta-irony going on here. The true irony is that LDS doctrine has constantly changed over the course of its short history. Expecting it to do the same in this case is no irony at all. 🙂

  22. @Holly interesting article, but it doesnt articulate a point that is meaningful to a religious person.

    I see. A religious person is impervious to arguments about human suffering and love. They blindly follow what they believe their god has told them is right and wrong without studying it out for themselves. I would like to see you try to explain to a terrorist that what he/she is doing is wrong in a “meaningful” way to them. I suppose your argument would simply be, “Your god is false. You should listen to my god.”

    So that is it, is it? Your god arbitrarily said so, and you have no other reason to hold your damaging beliefs than that. Any argument that appeals to actual human suffering and compassion is a “copout”.

    It’s hilarious that you give an example of a person who says they can’t control their desire to rape or otherwise harm people. It shows your naive belief that it isn’t possible for cases like this to be. Maybe you should read up on things like psychopathy. You’re arguing with a straw man. We’re not just saying that homosexuality is a part of someone’s identity. We’re saying it’s a healthy and harmless part of someone’s identity. How is it possible to get this idea into your head? Homosexuality doesn’t harm anybody. Can I say it again? Homosexuality is harmless.

    You think that the love that a couple shares with each other is morally equivalent to sins like rape and pedophilia. That is disgusting. Why should we respect your beliefs anymore than you would respect a terrorist’s genuine, heartfelt belief that infidels must die? After all, they use the exact same argument that you do: their god said so.

  23. Rob, we have a choice between humility and courage, on one hand, or arrogance and cowardice.

    Your position is arrogant because it elevates your beliefs over logic and evidence. Logic and evidence exist independent of us as individuals. When we cling to religious precepts even though the evidence contradicts them then we are reducing Mormonism to a sad heap of superstitions.

    If we have the humility to recognize the humanity of people who are different than us and to acknowledge that there are limits to our knowledge then it is so much easier to embrace them as our neighbors. That’s what Jesus wants.

    As for cowardice, your behavior speaks for itself. What is it about Mormonism that we always need an enemy? Why do we need to dehumanize people who are different than us?

    Why did we do that to Africans? Why did we do that to women? Why do we need to do that to our gay children and neighbors?

    Take courage, Rob, be humble.

  24. Holly #7, just like anti-semitism and misogeny, which have a theological base as well. In light of our history, whenever we invoke religion, we have to be very careful.

  25. @ Jonathan Blake #26 –

    The differencethe same difference I already pointed outis that pedophiles hurt someone else when they act on their desires. In pedophiles minds, they are having an intimate, loving relationships with children. Of course this is not truly possible because children are not capable of those kinds of relationships, nor are they capable to consent. I hurt for pedophiles. For them, there are real reasons that they will never know the intimacy that they crave.

    QFT!

  26. Ive heard that rather have your kid dead quote before. No where in that quote does it say that people should actually cause anyone (or even want anyone) to die. Nonetheless, the church has shied away from langauge like that in recent years. I actually havent ever heard any one in an official church setting use that quote in my lifetime.

    I’ve heard people say that over the pulpit at church (about rather seeing their kid dead than unchaste). It doesn’t matter that the book is a few decades old — it was one LDS prophet quoting another, and it was never repudiated. The Bible is thousands of years old (and obviously wrong/harmful in many places), and people are still quoting that. Someone close to me was recently given a copy of The Miracle of Forgiveness by the bishop to read as a component of “the repentance process.”

    The thing is that, sure, I personally could just ignore BKP’s message and just not listen to him. After all, I’m a grown-up with a loving, stable family life, I’m straight, and I already didn’t respect BKP. But the problem isn’t that he’s giving this message to me, the problem is that other people are listening, especially teens (both gay and straight), and they’re taking cues from his message about how gay people deserve to be treated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *